By LINA LECARO
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Despite — or maybe because of — the woes of the world right now, the need to escape this Halloween is palpable. Becoming someone else with an outlandish, sexy or scary costume, and drinking, dancing, prancing with other L.A. creatures of the night is what it's all about.
Halloween 2023 has a lot to choose from, too. With the holiday on a Tuesday this year, the mayhem begins now. Read on for Los Angeles magazine's curated list of creepy clubs, events and parties, and check the end of this story for a fiendishly fun flyer gallery.
TGIFF! From a "Death Disco" at Footsies in Highland Park to a live read of Bewitched (featuring Los Angeles' own Chris Nichols) at Bob Baker's Marionette Theater, to a Suspiria themed soiree at Akbar, to a gathering of some of the biggest goth and dark dance club promotions in L.A. (including Das Bunker, Blue Mondays and Coven 13) coming together for Danse Macabre at the Belasco, there's a mixed bag of party mayhem to kick off what is sure to be a wicked weekend. (Click linked venues or see event info in the photo gallery at the end of this story).
How to decide what do this Saturday night? We'd suggest picking something near your home. Ride share companies will be gouging, and if you want to drink and your sober friend is staying home watching horror movies, the less you have to drive the better. Prepare for traffic terrors either way.
In terms of music and themes, promoters are really thinking out of the box this year. There's a French Riviera soiree at The Godfrey, a retro-futurama called The Constellation Club at The Formosa, a 60's go-go grinder at The Purple Orchid, rock n' roll shindigs with live bands at The Knitting Factory and The Monty Bar, and a bevy of burlesque at The Ace Hotel and Harvelle's.
Some people in L.A. truly live and die for Halloween all year round. At the Boulet Brothers Halloween Ball, which takes over the Belasco Saturday night, the kings and queens of year-round dark dress-up and nightlife decadence should be out in full regalia. The host of Shudder's Dragula are meshing cinematic horror with clubby hijinks, as always. Scheduled to appear: Bonnie Aarons (The Nun, The Nun II, The Conjuring), Dragula favorites Abhora and Victoria Elizabeth Black, members of The House of Avalon, RuPaul’s Drag Race queens including Violet Chachki and the "Queens Of Darkness" themselves in a multi-level, 8-room "spectacle of sin. "
Speaking of sin, Houston Hospitality's Level 8 at the Moxy Hotel was sort of begging for a seven deadly sins (+1) party, and there's no better time than Halloween. Each of the venue's hotspots will focus on hedonism "with an electrifying 8th sin that you won't see coming," according to the venue. VIP packages are available, and for this sure-to-be packed party hub, they might be worth it.
Though Dia de los Muertos isn't officially until November 1-2, the largest celebration in town is always at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and it takes place this Saturday. Filled with exquisitely face-painted patrons and beautiful, awe-inspiring altars paying tribute to passed loved ones, it's a must do if you've never been- during the day and at night. During the Dia de los Muertos (9 a.m. - 3 p.m.) cultural rituals and artistic performances are featured with food, crafts, a children's plaza, Aztec dancers, DJs and performers including DannyLux and Irene Diaz. At night, Noche de los Muertos (5 p.m. - 12 a.m.), offers a host live music acts including Bomba Estereo, Bratty, Camila Fernandez, and Banda Las Angelinas, plus a slew of DJs presented by Nochenegra, a vinyl dance party from Mexico City.
We suggest a rest on Black Sabbath, but if you're looking for a little hair of the devil dog on Sunday, check out The Tonga Hut's annual "Monsters and Mai-Tais" event celebrating the legendary tiki bar's 65th year anniversary. There'll be a parking lot sale, art show, "mutt strut" dog costume contest and DJ Tonga Tom on the decks.
"Gorge" ghouls Gottmik and Violet Chachki host a "Deadly Doll Ball" at Edition, while Cretin Hop hosts Monster Hop with tribute bands and a costume contest at The Paramount. And A&R queen Vicky Hamilton booked a bodacious bill inside Lucky Strike at Ovation Hollywood; the "Monster Mashup" features Cramps tribute The Teenage Werewolves, The Cocks and more.
If you survive the weekend, the revelry continues on Tuesday, Oct. 31st, of course. For many it's amateur night, but for others it's just another excuse for excess. Alternative pop star Ashnikko takes over The Palladium with an immersive Halloween experience on Tuesday, including the live debut of her new Halloween single (the singer now has five Halloween-themed tracks to her name).
Tricks, Treats in the Streets
The biggest street rager in town is back! After a three-year hiatus, Santa Monica Blvd. is once again closed off for the city's Halloween Carnival. It's free to attend and will take place from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on a one-mile stretch between N. Doheny Drive and N. La Cienega Boulevard. there will be a stage at the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and N. San Vicente Boulevard with live DJs, food trucks and of course, some of the city's most creative and outlandish costumes you'll see anywhere.
It'll also be the highest Halloween ever in the area, as the first licensed cannabis experience takes place in the "Emerald Village" — the area near WeHo's dispensaries and The Artist Tree Consumption Lounge. The Harvest Haunt runs from 6 p.m.-midnight, taking over a block adjacent to main carnival. Cannabis cocktails, munchies, music, a drag show hosted by Jasmine Masters of Rupaul’s Drag Race, and more are scheduled for the 21+ event.